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Med Mycol. 2017 Jan 1;55(1):82-86. Epub 2016 Dec 2.

Invasive aspergillosis in acute myeloid leukemia: Are we making progress in reducing mortality?

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Hematology Department, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy
Hematology Department, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.


The incidence of invasive fungal disease (IFD) has varied during the last decades. However, over the years, we have observed a progressive reduction of mortality, mainly due to wider use of prophylactic antifungal therapy (i.e., new azoles, such as posaconazole), the development of new and more effective antifungal drugs (lipid compounds of amphotericin B, candins, and azoles of the previous generation) and improvement of diagnostic tools. Based on a number of international studies across three decades, the attributable mortality rate for IFD and invasive aspergillosis (IA) among patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has progressively declined. In the first report, in 2001, the attributable mortality rate for aspergillosis observed in AML patients by the GIMEMA (Gruppo Italiano Malattie Ematologiche Maligne dell'Adulto) group was near 60%. A subsequent multicenter Italian study by SEIFEM (Sorveglianza Epidemiologica Infezioni Fungine nelle Emopatie Maligne) reported an attributable mortality of 38% among 3,012 patients recruited from 1999 through 2003. Further reduction to 27% was reported for patients diagnosed between 2004 and 2007 in another SEIFEM study. Over the last few years, a different trend in mortality for IA has been observed in the various phases of therapy in patients with acute leukemia: while in the induction phase of treatment, characterized by a higher incidence of IA, we observed a reduction of mortality over the years, among relapsed/refractory patients, the mortality remains dramatically high.


acute myeloid leukemia; invasive aspergillosis

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